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Falkirk 3 v 0 Clyde

Match Type: Scottish Championship
Venue: Brockville
Date: Tuesday, 4th March 2003
Kick Off: 7:30pm
Attendance: 3,706
Falkirk
v
Clyde

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by Alan Henderson

LINE-UP

Halliwell

Potter Kernaghan McLaughlin

Mensing Hagen

Millen Kane
Fraser


Shields Convery

SUBS: Bossy, Morrison, Cosgrove (Mensing 60), Falconer (Convery 46), Keogh.

REPORT

Even though it was Shrove Tuesday nobody expected Clyde to serve up a performance that was as flat as the proverbial. Clyde fell apart individually and collectively in what was the poorest display of the season just when they needed to be at their best. Falkirk's speed and sharpness were too much for Clyde and leaves the players and management with a lot of soul searching to do.

Jack Ross failed to make the team so surprisingly Simon Mensing started as right wing back in front of a back three of Potter Kernaghan and McLaughlin. Convery retained his starting place at centre forward alongside Shields. All seemed fine for the opening 7 minutes as both sides sparred but Falkirk took an early lead. McQuilken made progress down the left and sent a cross flashing across the goal only for McLaughlin to crash the ball into the roof of his own net. Clyde tried to regroup with Shields turning and shooting over but Falkirk's tails were up and Clyde were creaking at the back. The midfield was struggling to get the ball and too often Falkirk were finding space to get in behind Clyde. Then after 25 minutes Falkirk scored again through Samuel. He received the ball from a throw-in unmarked and sped towards the edge of the box. He slammed his shot off the post but it rebounded off Halliwell's back and into the net. Falkirk were starting to run riot and Clyde made some positional changes. Mensing dropped into the back three and McLaughlin went to left wing back while Hagen switched sides to right wing back. It made little difference as Falkirk continued to press and pick off Clyde's sluggish play. Convery had a chance and lifted the ball over the keeper but well wide as Clyde tried to struggle on. Then near the break Falkirk scored their third goal. Kernaghan gave the ball away and left Halliwell exposed but he still managed to force Coyle wide. However a cross found Miller who easily out-jumped the defence for a simple goal. As Clyde continued to flounder Falkirk nearly grabbed a fourth as more panic left Halliwell exposed again. He saved the first shot and with the goal at his mercy the Falkirk player missed an empty goal from around the penalty spot.

Given the predicament it seemed obvious changes would be made at half time. Convery was the fall guy and replaced by Falconer. Fraser went to right wing back and Hagen moved up to join Shields and Falconer. Falkirk knew the game was won as they easily pressed Clyde every time they had the ball. Clyde couldn't create any space and Falkirk afforded themselves the luxury or removing Coyle and Samuel leaving a very youthful attack to pester an over-worked back three. Mensing was replaced at the manager's request by Cosgrove but it made no difference as only some fine stops by Halliwell prevented further embarrassment.

There will no doubt be a serious inquest as to why Clyde failed and fell apart so badly. Players fell out with each other and the management and there is some straight talking and bridges to rebuild before St Mirren on Saturday. How a team with all that experience can allow itself to be pressed so easily and ripped apart needs answering. Expect changes on Saturday.

STAR RATINGS (*****)

Halliwell ***** - Fine game and can hold his head high.
Potter * - All over the place.
McLaughlin ** - A struggle for 90 minutes but held it together.
Kernaghan ** - Very slack at times but held it together to keep the score down.
Kane * - Too slow for this game.
Mensing * - Out of position and sorts.
Hagen ** - Tried but never really in the game.
Millen * - Little went right for the tired warrior.
Convery ** - Effort but little else.
Fraser ** - Started well but moved all over the pitch and never got going.
Shields **** - Only outfielder who looked like a player tonight.
Falconer * - No service in a rotten game.
Cosgrove * - Lost in a sea of ineptness around him.

KERNAGHAN'S REACTION

"It was a very poor performance, in fact our worst of the season and it came at the worst time. But, it is only one result and it doesn't break a season."

"They seemed to be able to break past us and outnumber us very easily both in midfield and in the penalty box. The early own goals didn't help, especially the first one."

"Jack Ross had been complaining about sore ribs after Saturday's match. We tried to get him an injection to allow him to play, but at 5pm he gave it a go and realised quickly he wan't fit enough. It was a big blow for us."

"Simon Mensing played poorly - as did a number of other players - which is why he was taken off. He was put in a different position which didn't help."

"We have to bounce back now on Saturday, there's nothing else for it. Things will be harder now but that is the challenge we face."